Climate change has been impacting Ireland a lot in recent years and the impacts are becoming more noticeable these days.
It is the shift in the Earth’s natural climate and ecology spurred by human activity which includes pollution, radiation, deforestation among many other things.
The discussion of climate change has increased and leaders of the world have hosted emergency summits and initiated policies to reduce its impact.
We all know of Greta Thunberg, and we even have our own Dublin version of the climate activist, Flossie Donnelly.
And we’re all wondering, will it actually impact us on the Emerald Isle? Here are five ways climate change will affect Ireland.
The most evident impact is sure to be the slow but sure rise in temperatures and we have seen that in summer 2021.
Winters will become mild, as will springs, summers, and autumns. Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency explained: “The clearest trend is evident in the temperature records which show a mean temperature increase of 0.7o C between 1890 and 2008, i.e. an increase of 0.06o C per decade.”
We can expect to see storms intensify and we have seen this already as our storms have been getting names.
Evelyn Cusack is Head of Forecasting at Met Eireann, Ireland’s national meteorological service, and is also Chair of the European Met Services’ Storm Naming Working Group.
She said: “ The naming of storms by National Met Services (as well as colour coding weather warnings as Yellow, Orange or Red) provides a clear, authoritative and consistent message to the public and prompts people to take action to prevent harm to themselves or to their property .
“The storm names also add an extra interest for people with particular excitement in a family when one of their names appears in the list.
“We mostly pick names that can be easily pronounced but some are less generally recognised.”
We have seen some of the most erratic weather conditions across the island of Ireland in recent decades.
Mega storms with gale-force winds have become common, while road flooding and rainfall are no longer associated with the cooler months of the year and can be seen throughout the spring and summer.
Heavy rain in Malahide has caused huge flooding on busy roads this afternoon, and it even forced one popular store in the area to close.
Met Eireann has issued an advisory for heavy thundery showers for the whole of Ireland for the next few days as an ominous change hits the country.
Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency said climate change will bring “more intense storms and rainfall events (and) increased likelihood and magnitude of river and coastal flooding” in Ireland.
And Met Eireann have previously said that it will bring “an increase in extreme storm activity over Ireland.”
Rise in sea levels
Global warming is the slow and steady increase of the Earth’s temperature caused by the levels of carbon dioxide, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and other pollutants in the atmosphere.
Anthropogenic activities (pollution caused by humans)—such as burning fossil fuels, overexploitation of natural resources, and pollution—contribute to this.
As the Earth’s temperature warms, ice sheets and glaciers melt, causing the sea levels to rise.
By 2100, many coastal parts of Ireland will be underwater due to sea levels rising which is only 79 years away and Dublin is a location at risk.
Nature will change
There will be an ultimate shift in nature in Ireland due to climate change.
Fisheries and waterways that were once bountiful with catch will become barren, sensitive to changes in temperature. Plant and animal species that are native to Ireland will also disappear.
Met Eireann explained the reality we face: “Higher temperatures in late winter or early spring results in butterflies appearing earlier in the year and birds shifting their migration patterns.
“The pace of future change will cause stress to ecosystems which are unable to adapt quickly.”
Oceans will contain more acid
Ocean acidification is more common recently due to pollution which will cause harm to marine life.
The EPA said: “Ocean Acidification will have harmful effects on marine organisms and has the potential to disrupt global marine ecosystems.”
The Marine Institute’s report explored the threat of ocean acidification in Ireland to a great extent. It said: “Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities, such as fossil fuel use, causes changes in ocean chemistry, leading to a decrease in the pH of seawater.
“This process is referred to as ocean acidification.”